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As new coronavirus cases remain low, China reopens schools, domestic flights

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WATCH: Coronavirus around the world: May 16, 2020

China on Sunday reported five new cases of the novel coronavirus, as the commercial hub of Shanghai announced the restart of some schools and domestic flights.

Of the new cases, two were imported and three came from the northeastern province of Jilin that has seen a small spike in infections of unknown origin.

READ MORE: China supports ‘inclusive review’ of coronavirus response while pointing finger at U.S.

In Shanghai, students retain the option of continuing to follow classes online rather than facing virus testing and social distancing measures at schools.

As in Beijing and other cities, Shanghai has already restarted classes for middle and high school students preparing for exams.

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No new deaths have been reported for the past month, but Jilin added one fatality retroactively, bringing China’s total to 4,634 out of 82,947 cases recorded since the outbreak was first detected in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

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Just 86 people remain hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 while another 519 are in supervised isolation for showing signs of the virus or having tested positive without displaying symptoms.

READ MORE: Mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan prompts fears crowding could lead to infection

China now has the capacity to perform 1.5 million nucleic acid tests per day, National Health Commission Guo Yanhong told reporters Saturday.

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The commission is placing a new emphasis on bio-safety, management of laboratories and training of personnel, Guo said.

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Meanwhile, the number of domestic flights has returned to 60 per cent of pre-outbreak levels, exceeding 10,000 per day for the first time since Feb. 1, the country’s civil aviation regulator reported.

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With the summer holidays approaching, numerous tourist sites have reopened, including Beijing’s storied Forbidden City palace complex and Shanghai’s Disneyland resort, although with strict social distancing measures still in place.

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Other developments in the Asia-Pacific region

South Korea reported 13 new cases of the coronavirus, raising hopes that a new outbreak linked to nightclubs in Seoul may be ending. The additional figures bring the national tally to 11,050 with 262 deaths.

The agency says 17,660 are still being tested for the virus.

After weeks of slowdown, South Korea’s daily jump marked an average of about 30 cases for several days, mostly associated with nightclubs in Seoul’s Itaewon entertainment district. The daily increase dropped to 19 on Saturday.

READ MORE: South Korea promises more privacy as it tracks contacts of new coronavirus cases

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Sri Lanka reimposed a 24-hour curfew this weekend even though the government has begun easing the two-month coronavirus lockdown.

Private businesses and government offices reopened last week. However, on midnight Saturday, authorities again slapped a 24-hour curfew in an apparent move to restrict people’s movements during the weekend.

The curfew is expected to be relaxed on Monday morning. Health authorities say COVID-19 is under control in the Indian Ocean island nation. A total of 960 cases have been confirmed, along with nine deaths.

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